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When a change in a parent's estate plan is suspicious

One of the nice things about establishing an estate plan is that it is not set in stone. You can amend the terms of your will, trust and other aspects of the plan at any time. As life goes on and people come in and out of your life, it is a good idea to review your estate plan from time to time, to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

However, there is a dark side to the ability to change your will or trust. Sometimes, a person with substantial assets is pressured to change his or her estate plan by someone who wants a larger share of the inheritance. If the testator’s mental state is impaired by dementia or other illness, his or her intentions can be overwhelmed by this pressure, and he or she may change the estate plan. Children are often cut out of the will, in exchange for a relatively recent acquaintance, such as a caretaker.

It is for cases like this that the law in Michigan allows a will or trust to be challenged in court. If it can be shown that the testator was not of sound mind when he or she changed the estate plan, the changes may be rejected. Another reason for the court to reject the will or trust is if the deceased was forced to make the changes through physical or similar threats.

Each case is unique, and someone who believes they were wrongfully left out of a will should consult with an attorney to have his or her case evaluated.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Paid Caretaker should not be receiving inheritance,” Paul Premack, March 3, 2014

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